Sierra Club: The Planet--1996
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Table of Contents

The Planet
Environmental Heros of the 104th Congress

  • New York's Hinchey A Champion for Utah Wilderness
  • Oregon's Furse Leads Fight to Repeal Salvage Rider
  • Illinois' Porter a Genuine GOP Environmentalist
  • Georgia's McKinney Faces Tough Election in Redrawn District
  • Ward Top Advocate for Environment from Bible Belt
  • Minnesota's Wellstone Most Vulnerable Pro-Environment Senator

New York's Hinchey A Champion for Utah Wilderness

From the moment he arrived in Washington from his upstate New York district, Rep. Maurice Hinchey has been one of Congress' most ardent defenders of wilderness. He is also among its most vulnerable members, with special interests digging deep into their pockets to prevent his re-election.

It's easy to see why. From his seat on the House Resources Committee, Hinchey has fought vigorously to protect public lands from the majority - led by rabidly pro-development chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) - who would hand them over to extractive industries. He has compiled one of the best environmental voting records in the House, unfailingly putting public lands and public health before the profits of corporate polluters.

But the two-term New York congressman has made his most memorable stand on behalf of the wilds of Utah. He not only led the opposition to an egregious anti-wilderness measure pushed by Utah's congressional delegation, but authored a true wilderness bill - H.R. 1500, America's Red Rock Wilderness Act - based on a citizens' proposal by the Utah Wilderness Coalition, which includes the Sierra Club. That kind of independence has not endeared him to timber, mining and oil companies, which are eager to move on millions of acres of incomparable wild lands. Having won a second term in 1994 by barely 1,200 votes, Hinchey clearly needs our help in '96. Clearly, we'll need his as well.

Send contributions to: Friends of Maurice Hinchey P.O. Box 4497 Kingston, NY 12402 (914) 331-4466

Oregon's Furse Leads Fight to Repeal Salvage Rider

Like her colleague from the Northeast, Maurice Hinchey, Oregon's Elizabeth Furse has built a four-year record as one of the environment's staunchest allies in Congress - and distinguished herself as a leader in a public-lands battle of national import. Rated one of the House's greenest members by the League of Conservation Voters, she has beenat the forefront of efforts to halt the anti-environment march of the 104th Congress.

In her position on the House Commerce Committee, Furse has been a tireless advocate for public health, battling to strengthen the beleaguered Superfund hazardous-waste cleanup program. She has also fought for legislation that would protect endangered salmon and promote community-based projects to restore rivers and streams. If ever environmentalists needed Furse's leadership, however, it was in the struggle for America's forests. Determined to end the timber industry's orgy of old-growth harvesting in the wake of last year's "logging without laws" salvage-logging rider - among the most devastating bills passed by Congress in a generation - she introduced a measure to repeal it. Her courage earned her the lasting gratitude of the nation's environmentalists, as well as the enmity of its timber companies.

Furse shares something else with Hinchey, too: She won reelection in 1994 by just 301 votes. If she is to survive the gathering storm from timber PACs, she'll need support from all of us who want the nation's forests to survive the assault from "logging without laws." Send contributions to: Furse for Congress P.O. Box 11688 Hillsborough, OR 97123 (503) 227-4882

Illinois' Porter a Genuine GOP Environmentalist

A member of the Republican majority in the 104th Congress, Rep. John Porter has been among the intrepid minority of genuine GOP environmentalists. He has emerged in his ninth term as an important mediator between the environmental community and the Republican leadership, and as a moderating influence on the cynical, bottom-line ethos of those who have commandeered the party of Teddy Roosevelt.

Porter's green credentials are reflected in votes to block his own leadership's back-door attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency, to prevent increased logging on public lands and to scuttle the "Dirty Water Bill," H.R. 961, the majority party's answer to the Clean Water Act. He also fought a destructive "takings" bill in the House, which would have forced taxpayers to reward corporate polluters for complying with laws that protect America's air, land, water and public health.

As the second-ranking Republican on a key House Appropriations panel - the Foreign Operations subcommittee, which controls the purse strings for sustainable population and development assistance around the world - Porter has resisted the calls from his party's top leaders to cut funds, consistently making the case that family planning is vital to preserving traditional family values. He was instrumental in preventing congressional passage of the so- called Mexico City Policy, which would have crippled the federal government's ability to fund the non-governmental agencies on which the poorest people of the world depend for reproductive health care and family planning. Porter is a regular target of the right wing of his own party. We need him to continue standing up to Jesse Helms and his anti- choice cronies, and Porter needs and deserves our support in his bid for re-election.

Send contributions to: Porter for Congress P.O. Box 7126 Deerfield, IL 60015 (847) 948-1212

Georgia's McKinney Faces Tough Election in Redrawn District

A tough environmental advocate from the heart of Gingrich country, Rep. Cynthia McKinney faces the fight of her political life as she seeks a third term in the House. In 1992, after serving four years in the state capitol, McKinney made history as the first African-American woman ever to be elected by Georgia's voters to the U.S. Congress. Two years later she won a resounding re-election victory, racking up 66 percent of the vote. But a recent Supreme Court redistricting ruling has effectively pulled her home district out from under her, forcing her to run in unfamiliar territory and jeopardizing her chances of returning to Washington in 1997.

McKinney's record on green issues has been outstanding. In addition to voting consistently against the barrage of anti- environmental initiatives launched in the 104th Congress, she has regularly taken the floor to denounce its leaders' War on the Environment. She cast courageous votes against both the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as NAFTA, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, and stood firm against legislative attacks on the Clean Water Act and the National Parks System. She has been a supporter of increased aid for rural development and family planning and, from her seat on the House Agriculture Committee, has helped craft such critical measures as the 1996 Farm Bill.

Now, having proved herself to environmentalists and constituents alike, McKinney finds herself having to court an electorate for whom, due to redistricting, she is a new face. If she's to win over a fresh crop of voters, she'll need the financial help of those of us who know her record of unwavering support for the environment. Send contributions to:

Cynthia McKinney for Congress P.O. Box 371125 Decatur, GA 30031 (404) 243-5574

Ward Top Advocate for Environment from Bible Belt

In a freshman class dominated by Gingrich spawn, Kentucky's Mike Ward is a rarity: one of a small handful of newcomers who went to Washington in 1994 to defend environ- mental safeguards, not weaken them. One of just 13 first-term Democrats in the 104th Congress, Ward has compiled the greenest voting record of any Kentuckian on Capitol Hill. That record is one reason Ward is a top target of GOP strategists in the coming elections. But there is another: He won by just 427 votes in 1994. The pollution lobby smells blood.

Ward, a former Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Kentucky legislature for five years, has carried on his long commitment to environmental protections in the nation's capital. He voted against the Contract's cornerstone, the so- called Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act, with its dangerous risk-assessment and takings provisions. He voted against the Dirty Water Bill, and against efforts to slash EPA funding. But for two missed votes, he would have earned a perfect score from the League of Conservation Voters.

Ward won his seat in 1994 with 44 percent of the vote in a three-way race. This time out, he will do battle with Republican state Rep. Anne Northrup, whose record in the Kentucky capitol has earned her the financial backing of corporate PACs with an interest in weakening federal environmental laws. If we're to keep that from happening in 1997, environmentalists everywhere need to help keep Ward right where he is: on the side of healthy air, clean water, wilderness and wildlife.

Send contributions to: Ward for Congress MidCity Mall 1250 Bardstown Rd. Louisville, KY 40204 (502) 473-7777

Minnesota's Wellstone Most Vulnerable Pro-Environment Senator

The most vulnerable pro-environment senator in this election year, Minnesota's Paul Wellstone is also the most passionately outspoken on matters of vital concern to all conservationists. Not only has he maintained a near-perfect rating from the League of Conservation Voters since 1991, his first in the Senate, but he has emerged as one of the upper chamber's true environmental leaders.

Wellstone has been at the vanguard of efforts to protect Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling. In his freshman year in the Senate, Wellstone took on some of the Senate's most powerful members - including J. Bennett Johnston, then the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee as well as a fellow Democrat - by leading a dramatic filibuster against the Johnston-Wallop energy bill, which would have opened the refuge's coastal plain to devastating oil-and-gas exploration and development. More recently he fought successfully to keep the Arctic drilling provision out of the 1996 budget bill.

Even as a minority member, Wellstone is an especially crucial voice on the Energy Committee, which has jurisdiction over a wide spectrum of environmental issues from the Arctic Refuge to the Utah wilderness, national parks, energy matters and mining reform. His likely opponent is former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, who led efforts to weaken the Clean Air

Act of 1990 and whom Wellstone barely defeated that year. But Boschwitz, a wealthy man in his own right, will have the strong backing of oil companies and others who would like to send Wellstone back to Minnesota. Environmentalists need to make sure he stays in Washington.

Send contributions to: Wellstone for Senate 2309 University Ave. West St. Paul, MN 55114 (612) 643-0828

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